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The week had been a huge success. Your support helps secure a future for birds at risk. This idea that Black people somehow don't belong in the outdoors fuels even more fear. Wildlife biologist and educator Alex Troutman. … While getting people hooked on birds is definitely a goal of Black Birders Week, there's a lot more at stake. I began connecting with people all over the world. While getting people hooked on birds is definitely a goal of Black Birders Week, there's a lot more at stake. The first Black Birders Week started on Sunday amidst ongoing protests over police brutality and racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on Monday. "But what does that mean if I don't see anybody who looks like me, who says, 'Hey, you can be a scientist like me,' who can tell you, 'You don't have to be limited to what your parents or neighborhood say you need to be. Let us send you the latest in bird and conservation news. They don't talk about Black ranchers.". In his work, he links environmental and social advocacy with the simple, natural pleasures of bird watching. But even then, it didn't occur to him that the life he would eventually have -- one filled with turtle rescues and birds of prey and a wealth of wildlife knowledge -- was possible. Through education and open dialogue, “people in the community who are white can hold each other accountable to make sure these spaces are not hostile to Black people,” Newsome says. Hers was the blue jay. These young Black naturalists -- and the birds they love -- are some of the stars of, The event was conceived by a group of Black STEM professionals and students who share an online space they call. "I always thought I would be a vet," he said. "When you look at animal populations, you have to have, for instance, genetic diversity so that someone has an answer to a stressor that's to come. "There is no environmental organization that can claim to advocate for a better future without understanding that white supremacy is a direct threat to that future, and that environment.". "This is something that all of us are passionate about, because we are increasing the visibility of a group of Black and brown professionals and we're starting a dialogue," says. ", "When I'm in that cynical mindset," he says, "The only thing that gets me out is the joy and unapologetic strength and style of Black birders.". Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”. In response, scientists and nature enthusiasts introduced themselves to one another, discussed their research, and shared photos from outdoor adventures. Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, The second goal is to educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face. It started with the help of two Philadelphia women. The event series ran from May 31 to June 5 using the #BlackBirdersWeek hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Starting Sunday and running through this Friday, Black Birders Week includes five days of virtual events (none are scheduled for Wednesday), with each day featuring its own theme and Twitter hashtag, allowing participants to connect with one another, post pictures, and ask questions from anywhere in the world. It’s the least you can do. “That could easily have been any one of us,” she says. “The Black experience is not one of only trauma; it is one of joy and it is one of pride and it is one of strength.”. It's just where my mind placed it in the understanding of my world.". Tell Congress to stop efforts to strip away critical protections in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We encourage you to follow the hashtags on social media and amplify Black voices throughout … As demonstrations escalated on Sunday and images of pain and outrage filled many social media feeds, those following #BlackBirdersWeek also saw expressions of something more hopeful. Black Birders Week: An Ode to Our Allies. Organizers have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of joy and support online already. Learn from top experts in the field and join us for these FREE presentations. My name is Sean and I'm a graduate student researching #seabird foraging behavior. Before her current work in avian conservation, Newsome did become a zookeeper. What happened to Christian Cooper in Central Park could easily deter a young Black person interested in natural science and conservation from pursing those interests, she says. And, of course, the penguin. Help power unparalleled conservation work for birds across the Americas, Stay informed on important news about birds and their habitats, Receive reduced or free admission across our network of centers and sanctuaries, Access a free guide of more than 800 species of North American birds, Discover the impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, Learn more about the birds you love through audio clips, stunning photography, and in-depth text. , or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts. So as protests roil, the country contends yet again with the deeply-entrenched racism that has led to Black scientists being excluded, to Black nature lovers feeling unsafe, to a minor disagreement in the park ending in a racially loaded call to police, and a Black man being killed on the Minneapolis pavement. Black people aren't just excluded from natural spaces. So the quest for more representation, for more seats at the table in places of learning and science, in research and government, isn't just about following a passion. This Couple Has Been Working for 20 Years to Fix It. Newsome has said that Black Birders Week has two main goals, beyond interrupting stereotypes about who belongs in the outdoors. shows Amy Cooper warning she is going to tell police that “there’s an African American man threatening my life,” then calling 911 and again emphasizing the birder’s race. Black Birders Week and the new Twitter group have three main goals, says Newsome. A group of Black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers organized the campaign to celebrate Black people in the outdoors and birders specifically. Legal Notices Privacy Policy Contact Us. He and his brothers, father and uncle would go fishing on the weekends. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. In a now-infamous video exchange, a woman falsely accused Cooper of threatening violence and called the police after Cooper asked her to leash her dog. The Black experience is also about witnessing a sea turtle nesting for the first time on a drive along the Texas coast, as Troutman did. This visibility is a master key that can open all kinds of doors for Black scientists to succeed, and for the world to benefit from their success. “We can’t even organize for one Black trauma before another one happens,” the group tweeted on Sunday, explaining that while the Central Park incident inspired Black Birders Week, it’s also a response to the recent killings of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Newsome announced the event on Twitter on Friday, as well as unveiling a new Twitter account. The incident in Central Park this past May, in which Black birder Chris Cooper was threatened by a white woman after he asked her to leash her dog, has created shockwaves in the birding community, leading to Audubon-sponsored events like “Birding While Black” Zoom conversations and #BlackBirdersWeek, a week-long series of virtual events which aimed to amplify the voices of Black … “The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Last week was the first-ever Black Birders Week. For Tykee James, it was the belted kingfisher. Not only did this week highlight the stereotype of birders we all have, but it also gave voice for folks to say, … Black Birders Week was a week-long series of online events, running from May 31st, 2020 to June 5th, 2020. "It's not that I actively thought zookeeping was for white people or that it wasn't for me. When asked what his favorite bird is, Alex Troutman paused. It's what Troutman had, in a form, every time he went fishing with his family. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards. The third goal is to encourage increased diversity in birding and conservation. After a white woman called police on a black man birding in New York City, a group of black scientists got together to create Black Birder Week. National Audubon Society Paper Magazine: "Look out for #BlackBirdersWeek on Your Timeline" 6/1 /2020. Audubon did not found the National Audubon Society or any of the other organizations that bear his name; they were named after him posthumously beginning in the 1880s and 1890s because of his deep association with North American birds. The value is immesurable. They were not only admiring my bird photography but also offering solidarity in the Black Lives Matter Movement. But as an economist, which is considered a STEM profession, she knows all about exclusivity, and the steps communities of color have taken to give new generations of STEM professionals a better chance at success. Visit your local Audubon center, join a chapter, or help save birds with your state program. "My work brings me so much joy," she says. Think about the biological importance of diversity at any level, genetic all the way up to whole ecosystems, she explains. Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. On Sunday, the #BlackInNature hashtag encouraged Black nature enthusiasts to post pictures and videos of themselves getting outdoors and to talk about their experiences outside. Live-streamed discussions took place for a week in early June in which participants highlighted their joy of birding, … Within days, a group of #BlackAFinSTEM organizers had come up with a whole week's worth of ways to support and encourage the Black birding community. By demonstrating that Black people enjoy these spaces too, Newsome and her collaborators hope to encourage emerging birders and scientists to pursue their passions. Newsome says one of the chat members suggested a social media push to highlight Black birders in response to the Central Park incident, which started when Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher who is Black, asked a white woman to put her dog on a leash as required by park rules. Dreamers and LGBTQIA+ people, congratulations on the Supreme Court victories this week. , to unite and build a community of Black scientists. It's about the very well being of Black and brown people now, and all people of future generations. ... a podcast host and a coordinator of government affairs for the National Audubon Society. They're also promoting human diversity in birding and conservation. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Katherine Arntzen/Georgia Southern University, Last Friday morning, four days after a video of a, With this speech, Newsome, a biology graduate student at Georgia Southern University who studies Seaside Sparrows, announced the first ever Black Birders Week. "People don't talk about the buffalo soldiers who were among the first to care for national parks. By now, we hope you are familiar with the incident in Central Park that involved NY City Audubon Society board member Christian Cooper. Spread the word. It's the same if you have a group who are trying to solve a problem, whether you're a scientists or neighbors. "Racism is a direct to threat to environmental progress," says James. (Read Audubon’s statement on the incident here .) , with each day featuring its own theme and Twitter hashtag, allowing participants to connect with one another, post pictures, and ask questions from anywhere in the world. Black birders encounter overt hatred and racism in the field and are too often the only Black person, or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts. Starting Sunday and running through this Friday, Black Birders Week includes five days of virtual events (none are scheduled for Wednesday), with each day featuring its own theme and Twitter hashtag, allowing participants to connect with one another, post pictures, and ask questions from anywhere in the world. She grew up in Philadelphia, loving nature and animals, and assuming that, among the Steve Irwins and Jeff Corwins of the world, the only professional path for someone like her was to become a veterinarian. Through these events and others, the series highlighted research carried out by Black birders, the happiness they find in nature, the racism experienced, and the importance of inclusivity in the outdoors. The week of events, organized by a group of STEM professionals and students, increased the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when … To start, here are pictures of me birding and with my study species, the common murre pic.twitter.com/zokPwSEH6I, My favorite thing today? Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all of the events are taking place virtually. The hit TV show “Atlanta” offers a reminder that one black person's paradise can be another one's terror. The National Parks Have a Diversity Problem. Bald Eagle. "Because that was the only Black person I saw working with animals.". “We can’t even organize for one Black trauma before another one happens,”. That connection between people and place also affects people's wellbeing -- the water they drink, the air they breathe. #blackbirder #blackinnature #blackbirdersweek pic.twitter.com/C3xRdTaWD7, Decided to create a Twitter account today to take part in #BlackBirdersWeek and show me being #BlackInNature. In June, the National Audubon Society launched an initiative called Black Birders Week to “promote diversity and take on racism in the outdoors.” Seeing nature and wildlife up close still feels brand new and I hope it does for the rest of my life. The second goal is to educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face. Nature is for everyone," Troutman says. The group has three goals that don’t stop after the week of activism, says Tykee James, a Black Birders Week organizer and the National Audubon Society’s government affairs coordinator. Christian Cooper, a Black birder in New York City, The realities of being a black birdwatcher, they are also historically excluded from the academic and professional spaces, He also hosts a series of podcasts about nature and conservation, EPA proposes lead pipe rule changes after 20 years, but some advocates say it doesn't go far enough, One needs to look no further than Flint, Michigan, would coincide with one of the most painful racial episodes, 'My emotions were so raw': The people creating art to remember George Floyd. Along the way, she also became a passionate bird enthusiast and advocate for children from underprivileged backgrounds who want to pursue their interests in animals and nature. Type in your search and hit Enter on desktop or hit Go on mobile device. Troutman has worked with marine endangered species in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the National Park Service and for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, among other roles. After a racist encounter in the field, a birder reflects on the disturbing incident and the community that helped lift him back up. Audubon celebrates diversity and condemns racism. "Can I give you a top three?" "It's very easy to lose that when an interaction with a police officer can be the last description for the rest of my life. And as these nature lovers live their fullest experiences, they hope others will see them, and realize they can too.

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